Pippen's last-minute trey saves Bulls


Rodman 50 percent on playoff ejections

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Michael Jordan picks off a bad pass and glides in for two as only he can.
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Dennis Rodman teaches Dikembe Mutombo not to point.
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Henry James proves that not every loose rebound is Rodman's.
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Jordan knows the Bulls will have to play better to win the series. (Courtesy: NBA/TNT SPORTS)
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Lenny Wilkens says the refs cost the Hawks by not calling a foul on Jordan along the sideline. (Courtesy: NBA/TNT SPORTS)
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Christian Laettner doesn't think the Hawks got a fair shake from the officials.
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Box score | Game recap | Game flow

CHICAGO -- Scottie Pippen scored 29 points Tuesday, including a 3-pointer that snapped a tie with 43.9 seconds to go, giving the Chicago Bulls a 100-97 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Scottie sizzles: Scottie Pippen, who shot 24 percent from 3-point range in the first round, was six for 10 from beyond the arc Tuesday.

The Miracle Michael: If the Bulls fall behind, Michael Jordan will bring them back. He did it again by scoring 20 in the third quarter, turning an 11-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead entering the fourth period.

AWOL All-Stars: The Hawks need bigger numbers from Christian Laettner and Dikembe Mutombo. Laettner had six points, six rebounds and six assists; Mutombo had 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Bulls are 4-0 in this year's playoffs, but have only won by an average of 5.3 points per game. In the first round, Michael Jordan saved the Bulls with 55 points in Game 2 against Washington, and Pippen's jam in the final seconds gave Chicago a one-point victory in Game 3.

"This was a close call," Jordan said Tuesday. "The positive thing we take from this game is we know we can play better -- and we have to play better to be successful. Hopefully, we can make it to the point where we're not shooting ourselves in our own foot. Luckily, we won the game."

The Bulls overcame an 11-point halftime deficit, the ejection of Dennis Rodman and a disappearing act in the fourth quarter by Jordan. Game 2 is Thursday at Chicago.

Atlanta led 50-39 at halftime, but Jordan scored 20 of his 34 points in the pivotal third quarter and Chicago held a 77-70 advantage entering the fourth period.

"We obviously needed a jump start in the second half," Jordan said. "The same thing happened in the Washington series. We needed to look in the mirror and come out and play our game."

Jordan was cold in the fourth quarter, scoring just one point and missing a layup in the final minute.

Mookie Blaylock had 31 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, but he committed two key turnovers and missed a 3-pointer in the last two minutes as Atlanta failed to execute down the stretch, going scoreless for the final 3:06.

"Give the Bulls credit. They were very aggressive defensively," Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens said. "When the game was on the line, we turned the ball over. That really hurt us."
Jordan throws one down.

Pippen's 3-pointer, his sixth of the game, came after a backcourt violation by Atlanta and snapped a 97-97 tie.

"On the last shot, we threw the ball into the post to Luc (Longley)," Pippen said. "He was pretty high up on the post, so we did what we do when we execute that in practice: Steve (Kerr) made a good cut, stopped, made a good pick and I had an open look coming in. That was the game."

The Hawks then missed a shot, but Longley missed two free throws with 33 seconds left. Blaylock stepped on the sideline as he received an inbounds pass and the Bulls regained possession.

"The call on Mookie out of bounds wasn't a very good one," Wilkens said. "He was clearly bumped by Jordan."

"I was clearly pushed out of bounds," Blaylock said. "You call it what you want to. You saw it. Write it the way you saw it. I was fouled."

Jordan missed a layup and the Hawks had one last chance with 3.4 seconds left, but Blaylock's 3-pointer from the corner was long.

Ron Harper scored 11 points and Jordan grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 47 percent (37 for 79) from the field and missed 13 of 29 free throws.

Steve Smith scored 19 points and Tyrone Corbin added 14 for Atlanta, which shot 43 percent (33 for 77) and made 23 of 28 foul shots.

Alan Henderson came off the bench to score eight of his 12 points in the second quarter for Atlanta.

"I thought they played a good first half," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "When we went into the locker room, I told our guys, 'We better come out and play with more intensity if we expect to win.' I thought our third quarter was excellent. It took some good defensive play from us to win."

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